English soccer side Portsmouth FC ‘Pompey’ have announced plans to build a new training facility in the city on the site of the Roko Health Club.
The project will initially include the creation of two and a half new training pitches, a fitness suite, and offices for football department staff, while the existing changing rooms and player lounge will be refurbished.
All the places we’ve been over the years have been fantastic, but we need somewhere that we can call our own. I remember doing one pre-season down on Southsea Common when I was a player and hopefully that’s something we won’t have to do again. We won the FA Cup when we were based out of Eastleigh, but it was never really ours and this will be. Having our own place will give us a renewed focus and help us continue to rebuild this club.It won’t be a case of us pitching up at Roko – this will be Portsmouth Football Club’s training ground. We tried to move the academy base here a few years ago, but then we went into administration and those plans got shared. But we were able to pick those up again and adjust them for where we are now and what we want to achieve.
It’s important that we don’t move until everything’s ready – the pitches, the changing rooms and the gym. The whole environment has to be right and if we have to wait an extra month then that’s what we’ll do. When we finally do walk through the door then it will be a fantastic venue for us.
This is massive for the football club. The board has shown its commitment to creating a future legacy of this club with a significant six-figure sum. It is without doubt the most major infrastructure investment in the club since the Fratton End was rebuilt in the 1990s. The fact we have been able to make such an investment just one year into community ownership is incredible. As a club we all owe a debt of gratitude to the chairman, board of directors, individual presidents and the PST for making this dream a reality.I believe that the club has never really had a training ground it could call its own and I am very proud that we have finally put that right. It will make us a far more attractive proposition to prospective signings.As a result of this deal the club will have a training ground facility which will compare favourably with most in Leagues One and Two and many in the Championship.
The next phase of this project is to take up an option on two further pitches to the east adjacent to the railway line and bring our youth academy down here. That will be a significant project in its own right. We are already looking at raising further capital to put towards this goal and the club will be launching an innovative crowdfunding project later in the summer to hopefully get the funds in place for work to start early next year.